Nineteenth century novelist George Eliot once said, “Wear a smile and have friends; wear a scowl and have wrinkles.”
Yet smiling is more than just a way to convince your mother that you really did enjoy that meatloaf surprise. Even the smallest upward lip curve—whether or not it’s sincerely delivered—has far-reaching emotional and physical benefits.
Here are five advantages of turning that frown upside down:
1. Studies have shown that smiling lowers blood pressure. If you need some instant Zen, then all you have to do is smile. Chanting is optional (especially if you’re standing in line at the grocery store).
2. Smiling is almost a cure for the cold. Scientists have figured out that smiling produces more antibodies and white blood cells, which boosts your immune system. So take your vitamins and grin your way to wellness.
3. Analysis conducted at the University of Illinois suggested that people who are happier (and therefore smile a lot more), add almost a decade to their lifespan. That’s an extra ten years for not using your frowny face!
4. Endorphins (feel-good hormones) and serotonin (natural stress-reducers) are released when you smile. It’s the caffeine-free pick-me-up, and it works without having to double your espresso!
5. At DePauw University in Indiana, researchers determined that people who grin consistently have healthier marriages. It’s hard to fight over who ate the last snickerdoodle when you’re grinning at each other, right?
Smiling costs nothing, requires no special equipment, and is accessible twenty-four-seven. And no one minds if you do it in public. As Les Giblin said, “If you’re not using your smile, you’re like a man with a million dollars in the bank and no checkbook.”